Grace Puckette, 87, has lived in Fouke (Miller County) for 84 years. These are some of her memories, as told to Jessica Goodwin, ninth grader, Fouke High School.
Long ago, what is now a small town, Fouke, was a large place with industrial businesses left to right. Things have moved and things have changed with only memories left behind.
In the center of Fouke, there was a cotton gin owned by the Scogginses, where the washateria now stands. The Fouke Food Center, now owned by Jerry Frasier, has been around for as long as anybody can remember. Back then it was where the E-Z Mart is now, but in the late 1940s, it was burnt and then rebuilt. The main street of Fouke was down by the new post office. Around that area was the barber shop, then there was the train depot. The train ran through Bright Star, Doddridge, and Fouke. It brought snuff, tobacco, and other needed supplies. Later trucks distributed supplies and the train went out of business.
Before the trucks came about there were also no buses, so the usual transportation was walking or by wagon. Most kids were in walking distance of the school and if their family did not have a wagon for some reason or other, students had to walk one to two miles a day to and from school.
There were no paved roads, only dirt roads. In the 1960s, roads were beginning to get paved and sometime after Highway 71 was made. The highway made Fouke seem a lot smaller, but made things a lot easier. Soon after all of that happened, the cotton gin went out of business and the Scogginses began raising horses and cattle in its place.
Teens really didn't have any hangouts. There was a pool hall, but other than that, they hung out on the streets with their friends.
The school was very small and had few teachers. The school was where Fairland Holiness Church is now.
Religion was a major part of people's lives in that point in time. The main religion was Baptist. The Methodist Church was where the school is now.
All in all, things aren't worse now, but they're not the best. Things are better now due to technology. Now there are televisions, radios, and pumped water. Electricity was the best invention. Before there was electricity, wooden stoves and candles were used.
Before, and for a small period of time after, the highway was built, most food was grown or hunted. That was the food supply for people too far from Fouke. If food wasn't grown or hunted, it was raised, then it was slaughtered, such as pigs, cows, or chickens. Water was drawn out of a well with the use of a pail. Children usually had those sorts of chores around the house.
What everyone wonders is how a small story of the Fouke Monster became such a big legend. It was supposed to have been started by a woman who was walking along the railroad tracks and claimed to have seen it (in the out of town area). Soon after, word got out and everybody started seeing it, but no one really knows if it is true.
© Red River Rural Schools Partnership 1998